10. Why not to be Alone ? 为何不独自一人?

Why not to be Alone ?

It is not to hide your desires & fears, that one choose a solitary life.

Livve among people as if the Gods beheld you; speak with God as if people were listening.

On Living to Oneself

Yes, I do not change my opinion: avoid the many, avoid the few, avoid even the individual.

Crates, they say, the disciple of the very Stilbo whom I mentioned in a former letter, noticed the youth walking by alone, & asked what they were doing all alone. “I am communing with myself,” replied the youth; “Pray be careful, then,” said Crates, “& take good heed; you are communing with a bad person!”

When persons are in mourning, or fearful about something, we are accustomed to watch them that we may prevent them from making a wrong use of their loneliness.

No thoughtless person ought to be left alone; in such cases they only plan folly, & heaps up future dangers for themselves or for others; they bring into play their base desires; the mind displays what fear or shame used to repress; it whets their boldness, stirs their passions, & goads their anger.

Finally, the only benefit that solitude confers, – the habit of trusting no one, & of fearing no witnesses, – is lost to the fool; for they betray themselves.

Mark therefore what my hopes are for you, – nay, rather, what I am promising myself, inasmuch as hope is merely the title of an uncertain blessing: I do not know any person with whom I should prefer you to associate rather than yourself.

You are not one of the many; you have regard for your rreal welfare.
Speak, & live, in this way; see to it that nothing keeps you down.

As for your former prayers, you may dispense the divine from answering them; offer new prayers; pray for a sound mind & for good health, first of soul & then of body, & of course you should offer these prayers frequently.

Call boldly upon the Divine; you will not be asking for that which belongs to another.

I must, as is my custom, send a little gift along with this letter; It is a true saying which I have found in Athenodorus: “Know that thou art freed from all desires, when thou hast reached such a point that thou, prayest to the Divine for nothing, except what thou canst pray for openly.”

How foolish people are now!, They whisper the basest of prayers to heaven; but if anyone listens, they are silent at once; that which they are unwilling for people to know, they communicate to God.

Livve among people as if the Gods beheld you; speak with God as if people were listening”.


Seneca, StoicTaoist.